Minamata

I remember seeing a photograph of a mother
Holding her daughter -
In a town called Minamata in Japan
Where mercury had been dumped into the water
And this little girl had been born
With birth defects
So severe
That they paralysed me for a moment
But her mother’s face
Shone with the type of love
That could only have been
Reserved for a child who had
Exceeded, achieved, excelled, saved, loved
But this child was
Unable to speak, think, respond
Or move
Her hands clawed
And her face -!
But her mother’s face revealed
A love and compassion so infinitely pure
That it eclipsed
Her daughter’s disability
I wondered at the time
What kind of love did that?
That just by looking at this photograph
My heart could fill with a longing so desperate
That it took my breath away
I had never seen that look before
But I know it now
I see it on my face

by Elizabeth Russell

Other poems of RUSSELL (28)

Comments (2)

How true it is that it takes one mother to recognize that transcending love on another mother's face - child's abilities or lack of them notwithstanding. It is the purest love there is, and I think God looks at us the same way, with a love that is all forgiving and loving. Wonderful, pure, clear work that touches me so deeply. Linda
You know Elizabeth, it is the simplicity of your work that I love. You make it look so easy but you are a very tallented poet and I am truly envious of your ability. I must do something to attract more attention to your work. I will see what I can do. Kind regards Gypsy